A Millennial’s Appreciation of Star Trek

 

William Shatner turned 90 two days ago, which seems unbelievable if you see him. One of the side effects of money and good genes I guess.

What I assume is the case with most people in my generation, I grew up a Star Wars fan. Star Trek was old and for the nerds, Star Wars was newer and cool. I had never watched an episode of Star Trek except for some fuzzy memories of my mom watching Next Generation reruns when I was probably my daughter’s age.

We live in the country with poor internet availability and because we’re a young family with a stay-at-home mom, spending money on lackluster internet doesn’t make a lot of sense. So we make do with an old-fashioned antenna on top of the roof, taking whatever is floating out in the ether. Within the last couple of years, there has been an explosion of “free channels” that play various genres, reruns, and B-movies. Growing up we had about five “free” channels, I think we’re well over 20 now. One of these channels is H&I (Heroes and Icons) which plays Star Trek each night, including the original series from 7-8.

Being culturally curious and wanting to watch the things “everybody else has,” I started forcing myself to watch the original Star Trek anytime I’m in the house at 7. At first, my interest was half-hearted. It was slow, I didn’t know all the characters, and of course the effects are 1960s cheesy.

After a couple of episodes, however, I started to love it. The stories, the messages, the overall liberal (in the classic sense) nature of it (not to mention the women!) are great. Handicap for the cheesiness and I completely understand why Star Trek is as revered as it is. Even better is that though the kids groan when I turn the channel to Star Trek, they become enthralled in it too. Now I just have to convince my wife. So far I’ve been unsuccessful in getting her to enjoy the Twilight Zone.

She is coming around to Seinfeld. Maybe there’s hope for Captain Kirk.

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Preston Storm: I had never watched an episode of Star Trek except for some fuzzy memories of my mom watching reruns of Next Generation when I was probably my daughter’s age.

    Now I feel old. I watched the original series in its original run.

    • #1
  2. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Preston Storm: William Shatner turned 90 two days ago which seems unbelievable if you see him. One of the side effects of money and good genes I guess.

    Have studies been done on the longevous effects of foundation undergarments for men?

    • #2
  3. Bishop Wash Member
    Bishop Wash
    @BishopWash

    Preston Storm: William Shatner turned 90 two days ago which seems unbelievable if you see him.

    I’m sure Shatner knows who he’s taking a picture with, but his expression does say, “who are these people”.

     

    • #3
  4. DonG (2+2=5. Say it!) Coolidge
    DonG (2+2=5. Say it!)
    @DonG

    Those are classic story lines and classic archetype characters, but with a setting of outer space.

    • #4
  5. Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. Coolidge
    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.
    @BartholomewXerxesOgilvieJr

    In some ways the original Star Trek has not aged well (some episodes more than others). But at its best it was amazingly smart television, especially when you compare it to what passed for science fiction on TV at the time (like Lost In Space).

    I grew up in the ’70s, which was the perfect time to be a Trek fan. I became a Star Wars fan in 1977, but I never saw the two as mutually incompatible. I was there to see Star Trek revived from the dead with the first movie, and then the explosion of Trek variants that began with Next Generation. That was the golden age, I see now. (I’m still making a half-hearted effort at staying current with the current thing that calls itself Star Trek, but it’s clear that I’m no longer the target audience. That’s OK. I still have all the old stuff.)

    • #5
  6. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Reagan
    GLDIII Temporarily Essential
    @GLDIII

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: I had never watched an episode of Star Trek except for some fuzzy memories of my mom watching reruns of Next Generation when I was probably my daughter’s age.

    Now I feel old. I watched the original series in its original run.

    I also recall watching the TOS with my folks on Friday nights during it’s first run. Given all of the other space related excitement that was happening in our aerospace infected household, it seems like just the logical extension to a cool future in store for us kids.

    I now concede that the timeline for this future seems to be a bit off. Pity.

    • #6
  7. Caryn Thatcher
    Caryn
    @Caryn

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: I had never watched an episode of Star Trek except for some fuzzy memories of my mom watching reruns of Next Generation when I was probably my daughter’s age.

    Now I feel old. I watched the original series in its original run.

    Yeah, so did I.  I think we boomers are a pretty central part of the Ricochet demographic, though.  Or were you older than I when you watched it (and now, too, unless you found one of those cool Trek time loops)?  I had to beg my parents to stay up late enough.  You?

    • #7
  8. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Don’t watch Star Trek on Me TV or Antenna TV etc, they cut the episodes horribly.  H&I is mostly fine.

    And if you’ve got H&I, you should catch up on JAG too.  Excellent show.  Also Early Edition, if they bring it back again.

    nuTrek is all garbage, every bit (somewhat ironic or something, in our digital age) of it.

    Babylon 5 is also worthy, from start to finish.  Best not jump in at the middle, it follows a definite 5-season arc.  It was being shown on Comet last year, but I think it’s currently “out of rotation.”

    Another worthy series that returns from time to time is the original Kolchak, on Me TV.  Fortunately it’s not edited as heavily as Star Trek. (Anyone who’s spent much time watching Me TV should be able to identify entire scenes they remove from Trek episodes to run more commercials.)

    • #8
  9. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: I had never watched an episode of Star Trek except for some fuzzy memories of my mom watching reruns of Next Generation when I was probably my daughter’s age.

    Now I feel old. I watched the original series in its original run.

    I also recall watching the TOS with my folks on Friday nights during it’s first run. Given all of the other space related excitement that was happening in our aerospace infected household, it seems like just the logical extension to a cool future in store for us kids.

    I now concede that the timeline for this future seems to be a bit off. Pity.

    Keep in mind something that many people seem to forget, all the cool stuff in Star Trek happens AFTER – and even BECAUSE OF – World War III.

    • #9
  10. Rōnin Coolidge
    Rōnin
    @Ronin

    The original Star Trek was the only reason my father bought a color TV (22 inch Motorola cabinet).

    • #10
  11. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Preston Storm: We live in the country with poor internet availability and because we’re a young family with a stay at home mom, spending money on lackluster internet doesn’t make a lot of sense. So we make do with an old fashioned antenna on top of the roof, taking whatever is floating out in the ether. Within the last couple of years there has been an explosion of “free channels” that play various genres, reruns, and B-movies. Growing up we had about 5 “free” channels, I think we’re well over 20 now. One of these channels is H&I (Heroes and Icons) which plays Star Trek each night, including the original series from 7-8.

    You – and others who haven’t already seen it – might also want to check out the latest “Cord Cutters” thread.

    https://ricochet.com/916391/locast-the-cord-cutters-friend/

    • #11
  12. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: I had never watched an episode of Star Trek except for some fuzzy memories of my mom watching reruns of Next Generation when I was probably my daughter’s age.

    Now I feel old. I watched the original series in its original run.

    I also recall watching the TOS with my folks on Friday nights during it’s first run. Given all of the other space related excitement that was happening in our aerospace infected household, it seems like just the logical extension to a cool future in store for us kids.

    I now concede that the timeline for this future seems to be a bit off. Pity.

    Soon. We just have to defeat the Wokons first. 

    • #12
  13. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Rōnin (View Comment):

    The original Star Trek was the only reason my father bought a color TV (22 inch Motorola cabinet).

    If you don’t have color tv, you can’t identify who’s going to die at the start of the episode. 

    • #13
  14. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk and
    @Misthiocracy

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: William Shatner turned 90 two days ago which seems unbelievable if you see him.

    I’m sure Shatner knows who he’s taking a picture with, but his expression does say, “who are these people”.

     

    It’s be even funnier if he had a photo taken with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill.

    • #14
  15. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Misthiocracy got drunk and (View Comment):

    Bishop Wash (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: William Shatner turned 90 two days ago which seems unbelievable if you see him.

    I’m sure Shatner knows who he’s taking a picture with, but his expression does say, “who are these people”.

     

     

    It’s be even funnier if he had a photo taken with Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill.

    Paging @ejhill ?  :-)

    • #15
  16. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    • #16
  17. Dotorimuk Coolidge
    Dotorimuk
    @Dotorimuk

    Shatner’s work ethic is unbelievable. Like Willie Nelson’s, but without the ganja. (I assume.)

    • #17
  18. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    TBA (View Comment):

    GLDIII Temporarily Essential (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: I had never watched an episode of Star Trek except for some fuzzy memories of my mom watching reruns of Next Generation when I was probably my daughter’s age.

    Now I feel old. I watched the original series in its original run.

    I also recall watching the TOS with my folks on Friday nights during it’s first run. Given all of the other space related excitement that was happening in our aerospace infected household, it seems like just the logical extension to a cool future in store for us kids.

    I now concede that the timeline for this future seems to be a bit off. Pity.

    Soon. We just have to defeat the Wokons first.

    And their Zombie Army, including The Voting Dead?

    • #18
  19. James Lileks Contributor
    James Lileks
    @jameslileks

    The stories, the messages, the overall liberal (in the classic sense) nature of it (not to mention the women!)

    Many an adolescence was kick-started by the costumes of William Ware Theiss.

    In the course of his career, Theiss was most famous for creating alluring female costuming that censors typically could not credibly forbid, employing what came to be called the “Theiss Titillation Theory”: “The sexiness of an outfit is directly proportional to the perceived possibility that a vital piece of it might fall off.”

    The original shows have an unspoken subtext that sets them apart: the Enterprise is alone. It is out there. Way beyond the outermost Starbase. The cavalry is not on the other side of the ridge. It wasn’t explicit, but it seeped into the bones of the stories. When they came across an enormous life-sucking single-celled organism, it wasn’t a question of calling Starfleet and mustering an armada to blow it up. 

    • #19
  20. Flicker Coolidge
    Flicker
    @Flicker

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    The stories, the messages, the overall liberal (in the classic sense) nature of it (not to mention the women!)

    Many an adolescence was kick-started by the costumes of William Ware Theiss.

    In the course of his career, Theiss was most famous for creating alluring female costuming that censors typically could not credibly forbid, employing what came to be called the “Theiss Titillation Theory”: “The sexiness of an outfit is directly proportional to the perceived possibility that a vital piece of it might fall off.”

    The original shows have an unspoken subtext that sets them apart: the Enterprise is alone. It is out there. Way beyond the outermost Starbase. The cavalry is not on the other side of the ridge. It wasn’t explicit, but it seeped into the bones of the stories. When they came across an enormous life-sucking single-celled organism, it wasn’t a question of calling Starfleet and mustering an armada to blow it up.

    Where no man has gone before.

    • #20
  21. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Except they kept running into these things that were going sublight speed, which meant they had DECADES or CENTURIES before they could be a credible threat, and so there was PLENTY of time to go get the cavalry.

    With some notable exceptions, of course.

    But there was no suggestion that The Doomsday Machine, for example, had ever traveled at or was capable of traveling at faster-than-light speed.  So they had to make Commodore Decker basically insane, Because Plot, Because Drama, etc.

    • #21
  22. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: I had never watched an episode of Star Trek except for some fuzzy memories of my mom watching reruns of Next Generation when I was probably my daughter’s age.

    Now I feel old. I watched the original series in its original run.

    Me too.  I tried to watch some of the old episodes, but just couldn’t get into them the second time around . . .

    • #22
  23. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Stad (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Preston Storm: I had never watched an episode of Star Trek except for some fuzzy memories of my mom watching reruns of Next Generation when I was probably my daughter’s age.

    Now I feel old. I watched the original series in its original run.

    Me too. I tried to watch some of the old episodes, but just couldn’t get into them the second time around . . .

    Their earnest qualities make me smile and make me wistful. 

    These were cultural stories we told ourselves; an American chivalric code projected into space that told us we could transcend our ‘6os cold war politics and bring peace and prosperity to peoples everywhere. To seek out, explore, boldly go – this was our heritage and these were our dreams. 

    • #23
  24. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr. (View Comment):

    In some ways the original Star Trek has not aged well (some episodes more than others). But at its best it was amazingly smart television…

    I don’t know that there are a lot of Star Trek original series reaction videos, but I have been watching the The Sci-Fi Dog Lady’s youtube reaction videos to the old original episodes.  I think she might be from Mexico.  It is interesting to see what episodes she finds interesting.  She liked “The Cage” the most and had the most difficulty trying to take “The Arena” and its very slow Gorn seriously.  (I also got to see her reaction to the classic Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man”.)

    • #24
  25. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    The original was the only good Star Trek.  Picard was a sissy in Star Trek Bloated.  Janeway tried to murder her own crew in almost every episode to teach the bad guys a lesson in Star Trek Lost in Space.  And Star Trek Soap Opera on the space station, was just dumb. Star Trek Enterprise had a lot of potential, but stupid writers.  None were completely terrible, but only the original was brilliant.

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Skyler (View Comment):
    The original was the only good Star Trek.

    FTFY.

    • #26
  27. EJHill Podcaster
    EJHill
    @EJHill

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.: But at its best it was amazingly smart television, especially when you compare it to what passed for science fiction on TV at the time (like Lost In Space).

    And, of course, it must be pointed that CBS passed on Star Trek primarily because they already had their own “space show” in development and that was Lost in Space and it had approximately the same life-span as ST:TOS. They one thing it had going for it was a superior composer. While some might be hard pressed to name anything else Alexander Courage wrote other than the theme to Trek, that John Williams guy became pretty well known in his own right.

    Courage and Williams actually worked together. Courage did the score for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which included 3 original compositions by Williams and themes from the original movie, and Courage would do orchestrations for the Boston Pops when Williams helmed that legendary orchestra.

    Courage is also known as the guy Gene Roddenberry screwed over. Roddenberry wrote a set of cheesy lyrics to the theme for Star Trek merely to claim half of the royalties whenever the theme was played. 

    • #27
  28. kedavis Member
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Skyler (View Comment):

    The original was the only good Star Trek. Picard was a sissy in Star Trek Bloated. Janeway tried to murder her own crew in almost every episode to teach the bad guys a lesson in Star Trek Lost in Space. And Star Trek Soap Opera on the space station, was just dumb. Star Trek Enterprise had a lot of potential, but stupid writers. None were completely terrible, but only the original was brilliant.

    I can only assume that you didn’t see enough of DS9, or were somehow unable to appreciate its greatness.

    “In The Pale Moonlight” is sufficient justification for the entire series.

    • #28
  29. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Bartholomew Xerxes Ogilvie, Jr.: But at its best it was amazingly smart television, especially when you compare it to what passed for science fiction on TV at the time (like Lost In Space).

    And, of course, it must be pointed that CBS passed on Star Trek primarily because they already had their own “space show” in development and that was Lost in Space and it had approximately the same life-span as ST:TOS. They one thing it had going for it was a superior composer. While some might be hard pressed to name anything else Alexander Courage wrote other than the theme to Trek, that John Williams guy became pretty well known in his own right.

    Courage and Williams actually worked together. Courage did the score for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, which included 3 original compositions by Williams and themes from the original movie, and Courage would do orchestrations for the Boston Pops when Williams helmed that legendary orchestra.

    Courage is also known as the guy Gene Roddenberry screwed over. Roddenberry wrote a set of cheesy lyrics to the theme for Star Trek merely to claim half of the royalties whenever the theme was played.

    Roddenberry’s other good series was “The Lieutenant.”  Very under-rated and hard to find. It has the same examination of issues.  The main character is essentially Captain Kirk when he was a lieutenant, except in the USMC in contemporary peacetime.  The idea to change 2ndLt William Tiberius Rice, USMC, (USNA class of 61) into Capt James Tiberius Kirk of Starfleet was brilliant.  It allowed him to get out of current controversy and examine issues without that baggage.

    If you can find it, watch the entire season.  Many of the actors are the same; Nichole Nichols, Leonard Nimoy, Walter Koenig, Gary Lockwood (who played 2ndLt Rice) and many other minor characters.

    I only know about it because they used to show it on AFRTS when I was a kid in the 1970’s.  It took me years to find it on DVD.  You can get partial episodes on YouTube.

    • #29
  30. Paul Schinder Member
    Paul Schinder
    @PaulSchinder

    kedavis (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    The original was the only good Star Trek. Picard was a sissy in Star Trek Bloated. Janeway tried to murder her own crew in almost every episode to teach the bad guys a lesson in Star Trek Lost in Space. And Star Trek Soap Opera on the space station, was just dumb. Star Trek Enterprise had a lot of potential, but stupid writers. None were completely terrible, but only the original was brilliant.

    I can only assume that you didn’t see enough of DS9, or were somehow unable to appreciate its greatness.

    “In The Pale Moonlight” is sufficient justification for the entire series.

    As far as I’m concerned, DS9 is the best Star Trek series to date, followed by TOS.  Enterprise was OK.  I couldn’t bring myself to watch TNG after season 3, and didn’t watch V’ger  (saw the first episode, that was enough).  Discovery is interesting (well, the “spore drive” is stupid; suddenly Star Fleet forgets about it in all of the chronologically following series?).  Picard was OK.  Haven’t seen Lower Decks yet (don’t subscribe to what’s now Paramount+, so I get the series on DVD).  I’m looking forward to the new Pike series.

    • #30